The Professional Bowlers Association and Citizen Potawatomi Nation have reached agreement to return to Shawnee, Okla., for the third annual PBA Summer Swing in 2015. Dates and other details have yet to be finalized, but the announcement that the PBA will return to Oklahoma was made during the Grand Casino Resort PBA Summer Swing finals by Citizen Potawatomi Nation Chairman John (Rocky) Barrett.
It is expected the 2015 program will be similar to the 2014 Summer Swing, with preliminary rounds held at FireLake Bowling Center (also operated by the Grand Casino Resort group) with finals held on a special lane installation in the Grand Event Center in the Grand Casino Resort and Hotel complex.
“The PBA is very happy to renew our relationship with the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and Grand Casino Resort group,” said PBA Commissioner Tom Clark. “The 2014 event was a terrific experience. Our hosts could not have been more accommodating. FireLake is a great facility for our preliminary rounds, and the Grand Event Center provided us with a terrific setting for the finals. We couldn’t be happier. It’s great news for the PBA and our members to know a full year in advance that we’re coming back to Oklahoma.”
Some other PBA Summer Swing highlights:
● 47 different players (40.86%) of the 2014 Summer Swing field of 115 players cashed at least once in the PBA Wolf, Badger, Bear and/or Oklahoma Open events.
● 16 different players (13.19%) qualified for one of the four Summer Swing stepladder finals on CBS Sports Network.
● Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pa., qualified for three television shows (No. 2 in Bear Open, No. 1 in Badger Open and No. 3 in Oklahoma Open). The only other players who qualified for more than one TV show were Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C. (No. 1 in Bear, No. 4 in Oklahoma) and Chris Loschetter of Avon, Ohio (No. 5 in Wolf, No. 2 in Oklahoma).
● The 2013 PBA Summer Swing produced two first-time champions (Loschetter in Wolf Open, Jake Peters of Henderson, Nev., in Badger Open). Players who will be trying for their first PBA Tour titles in 2014 television finals are Marshall Kent, Yakima, Wash., No. 3 in Badger Open; Martin Larsen, Sweden, No. 3 in Wolf Open; E.J. Tackett, Huntington, Ind., No. 1 in Oklahoma Open, and Brian Valenta, Lockport, Ill., No. 4 in Badger Open. Valenta is the only player who will make his PBA Tour television debut.
● Two-time major league baseball all-star pitcher John Burkett of Southlake, Texas, returned to PBA Tour competition for the first time since 2007 to prepare for his planned debut in PBA50 Tour competition in 2015. Burkett finished in a tie for 70th in the field of 115 in the three Oklahoma Open qualifying rounds with an 18-game total of 3,621 pins (a 201.17 average). He was 91st for his six games in the Wolf Open (1,174 pins, 195.67 average); 48th in the Bear Open (1,226 pins, 204.33 average) and tied for 63rd in the Badger Open (1,221 pins, 203.5 average). Burkett is considering entering the PBA World Series of Bowling VI at South Point in Las Vegas in October.
PBA50 REGIONAL WINNER VOSTRY PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR FRIEND’S SCHOLARSHIP FUND
When Kevin Vostry of Plainfield, Ill., won his first PBA50 Regional title in Virden, Ill., in March, he immediately declared he wanted his PBA champion’s banner made in green and white – the colors of the late Tim Nickos’ Oak Lawn, Ill., high school. And he donated $150 – 10 percent of his $1,500 first prize – to a scholarship fund set up by Dale Nickos in his son’s honor.
Tim Nickos died in his sleep nearly three years ago at age 17 of an undetected heart defect. In support of Dale Nickos’ efforts to perpetuate his son’s memory and try to prevent similar tragedy from striking other families, Vostry decided to donate 10% of his PBA earnings plus any pro-am fees he receives to the Young Hearts for Life program that has provided free heart screenings for roughly 1,200 Oak Lawn High School students thus far, and to support the fund that provides a $2,500 scholarship every year to an Oak Lawn senior in Tim Nickos’ name.
So far Vostry (who coincidentally manages the PBA Midwest Region’s Facebook page) has been able to donate $400 in PBA earnings toward the fund. But he’s a new PBA50 player, so he has high hopes to add a lot more, and he is inspired by seeing his green-and-white banner whenever he bowls a PBA50 Midwest Region tournament. “As long as I’m out there bowling, I’ll have Tim with me,” Vostry said after his banner made its debut at Brookmont Bowling Center in Kankakee over Memorial Day weekend.
PBA REGIONAL ROUNDUP: MALDONADO WINS FIRST REGIONAL TITLE IN SHAWNEE
Shawn Maldonado of Houston, Texas, defeated Venezuela’s Ildemaro Ruiz, 234-215, to win his first PBA Regional title in the PBA Grand Casino Resort Summer Swing Southwest Open at FireLake Bowling Center in Shawnee, Okla., Sunday. Maldonado earned $3,000 for the victory.
After earning a first-round bye in the single-elimination match play finals, Maldonado defeated 1992 U.S. Open champion Robert Lawrence of Del Valle, Texas, 2-0, in the best-of-three-game Round of 8 and in a semifinal round match between young two-handed bowlers, Maldonado disposed of Anthony Simonsen of Mesquite, Texas, 246-222.
Ruiz edged Shannon O’Keefe of Arlington, Texas, 3-2, in the best-of-five Round of 12; out-struck John Szczerbinski of North Tonawanda, N.Y., 2-1, in the Round of 8, and April’s FireLake Southwest Open champion Dino Castillo of Carrollton, Texas, 248-200, to advance to the title match.
● Louis Gaudio of Morganville, N.J. defeated Thomas Coco Jr. of Cortland Manor, N.Y., 246-196, to win the PBA Colony Park Lanes Eastern Challenge in York, Pa., on Saturday. PBA Challenge events are open to any member or non-member who has never won a PBA event.
Gaudio rolled a 266 in the final game of qualifying to advance to the 16-man finals. Coco qualified second and was undefeated in the single-elimination match play rounds until the championship match. Gaudio earned $2,000 and his first PBA Regional title.
● At Brookmont Bowling Center in Kankakee, Ill., Kenny Calkins III of Des Moines, Iowa, defeated Ari Wilson of University Park, Ill., 234-217, in a battle between two amateurs to win Sunday’s Brookmont Midwest/Central Re-Entry Classic presented by Radical Bowling. Calkins earned $2,000.
In Saturday’s Brookmont Midwest/Central Challenge for non-champions, Steven Taylor of Deer Park, Ill., topped William Guszczo of Orland Park, 268-189, for $1,600 and his first PBA Regional title.
During the Re-Entry Classic, PBA50 member Dave Johnson of Ashtabula, Ohio, rolled back-to-back 300 games during qualifying and added a third perfect game during the match play elimination rounds.
● Harry Sullins of Chesterfield Twp., Mich., posted a 13-3 match play record and 5,793 pins Wednesday to win his 13th career PBA50 Regional title in the fifth annual Lona King Saguaro West Open at Johnson Lanes in Sun City West, Ariz.
Sullins, who earned $4,000, defeated Eric Forkel of Henderson, Nev., by 133 pins for the title in the annual trek through Arizona prior to the PBA Senior U.S. Open, which gets underway Sunday at Suncoast Bowling Center in Las Vegas. Forkel had an 11-5 match play record and 5,660 pins for 24 games including match play bonus pins.
The PBA50 Miller Lite Western Open at Starlite Lanes in Flagstaff, Ariz., was underway and scheduled to end later Friday.
● PBA Regional competition over the June 13-15 weekend will include the PBA50 Billy Myers Sr. West Open presented by The Professional Approach, a reduced entry fee event, at Bowlium Lanes in Montclair, Calif.; the J.D. Producing Inc./Triway Lanes Central Open presented by Hammer in Wooster, Ohio; the Gastonia South Open at George Pappas Liberty Lanes in Gastonia, N.C., and the Howell Lanes East Open presented by Brunswick in Howell, N.J.
The June 20-22 weekend schedule includes the American Insurance Midwest Open 1 and 2 – a pair of one-day events – at Tinley Bowl in Tinley Park, Ill.; the Reality Check Melbourne Open presented by DV8 at Brunswick Harbour Lanes in Melbourne, Fla., and the San Antonio Southwest Challenge – an event for players who have never won a PBA event – at Astro Super Bowl in San Antonio, Texas.
A busy June 27-29 schedule closes the month. Tournaments will include the Colorado Ebonite Southwest Open at Holiday Bowling and Billiards in Lakewood, Colo.; the Fort Meade East Challenge presented by Roto Grip, a reduced entry fee event for non-champions, at Fort Meade, Md.; the joint Pro Bowl West Lanes Central/Midwest Challenge, also a reduced entry fee event for non-champions, in Fort Wayne, Ind.; and a doubleheader joint regional at Secoma Lanes in Federal Way, Wash. – the PBA and PBA50 Secoma Lanes Northwest/West Opens presented by Storm.
For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area.
● Father’s Day gift ideas: If you’re looking for a special gift for the bowling father in your family, visit pba.com and click on the “shop” link to access the PBA Store where you’ll find a unique line of PBA-logoed merchandise. Place your order early to ensure delivery in time for Father’s Day.
● Welu Scholarship applications due June 15: If you know a deserving young bowler who could use $1,000 in financial help to attend college, encourage him/her to apply for the 2014 PBA Billy Welu Scholarship Award. Applications must be postmarked by June 15. Eligible candidates must be amateur bowlers who are currently in college (preceding the application date) and maintaining at least a 2.5/4.0 GPA or equivalent. The application form can be retrieved by using this link: http://pba.com/Corporate/Scholarships/.